With more than 1,800 graduates spread across Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, North America and Europe, EARTH University alumni are creating positive changes in a variety of fields and professions in communities around the world. Terence Fuschich (’98, Honduras) and Jeanneth Valdivia (‘09, Nicaragua) are just two examples of graduates who have dedicated their careers to social and environmental causes in their native countries.
A little over 15 years ago, Terence founded coffee export company Honducafé. In 2008, he began incorporating a social responsibility project, and has since built three schools and provided training for more than 10,000 small and medium-scale producers in the coffee producing regions of Honduras. “The impact that we have generated in building these schools pleases us more than having assembled the largest coffee processing plant in Central America,” he says proudly.
For Terence, the experience he gained working with local communities at EARTH has been an important contributor to his success, saying, “the University should continue developing and strengthening the Community Experience program because learning to work with producers and the community is essential.”
In Chinandega, Nicaragua, Jeanneth works for an NGO called Africa 70, where she leads a waste commercialization project with the Municipality of Chinandega. Jeanneth’s ultimate goal of turning waste management into a sustainable business as well as a shared duty amongst all citizens is an idea that both challenges and motivates her. “I am pleased to see the developments in the Nicaraguan perspective. Changing the mentality of an entire country is not easy- it can’t be done overnight. But I’m encouraged to see that people are open to change. I want to bring the project to more people and prove that it can generate income for the municipality in the future. I want to prove that the city can be cleaner.”
Jeanneth credits the teamwork and leadership skills she developed as an EARTH student for helping prepare her for the professional world, in addition to the technical skills in waste management she gained during her fourth year. She also stresses the importance of interpersonal skills, which are especially relevant in her role as a supervisor. “At EARTH I learned how talk to people. Everyone was treated equally, and that made me able to strike up a conversation with anyone, regardless of their background.”
Graduates like Jeanneth and Terence embody the philosophy of EARTH, promoting resource management, humane treatment, social awareness and a holistic view of agronomy through their work. Today nearly 80% of graduates are employed in their country of origin and are honoring their commitment to creating a more just and prosperous society.
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